Gender Differences In Orgasm

Although some therapists have suggested that different types of orgasm exist for men, it is generally believed that typologies of orgasm intriguingly exist only for women (25). Most of the research in this area is derived from self-reports of women who distinguish orgasmic sensations induced by clitoral stimulation (warm, ticklish, electrical, sharp) from those induced by vaginal stimulation (throbbing, deep, soothing, comfortable). Masters and Johnson (2) claimed that all orgasms in women were physiologically identical regardless of the source of stimulation. However, they did not have the instrumentation to obtain detailed muscular recordings for possible differences between clitoral- and vaginal-induced orgasms. There is now some limited physiological laboratory evidence to suggest that different patterns of uterine (smooth muscle) and striated pelvic muscular activity may occur with vaginal anterior wall stimulation as opposed to clitoral stimulation (15).

Several other physiological differences between male and female orgasms have been proposed. First, unlike men, women can have repeated (multiple) orgasms separated by very short intervals, and women can have extended orgasms that last for long periods of time (2). Secondly, men have a divided rhythmic pattern of muscular contractions that has not been noted in women (9). Thirdly, in men, once orgasm is initiated its further expression is automatic even if sexual stimulation is stopped. In contrast, if stimulation is stopped in the middle of either clitoral-induced or vaginal-induced orgasm, orgasm is halted in women (26).

In terms of gender differences in the psychological experience of orgasm, written descriptions of orgasms by men and women with any obvious gender clues removed could not be differentiated by sex, when read by other males and females (27). This suggests that men and women share common mental experiences during orgasm.

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